This time of year the magazine racks and online health sites are chock-a-block full of advice on how you can get yourself (and your body) ready for the summer beach season. [A lifetime of bad choices can be reversed in just five minutes a day]. Yes, it’s a tired cliché. But it’s also true that as the weather warms up, we soon turn our attention to the out-of-doors, and the external motivation of looking good at the pool or on the course.

Similar thing with the company. Now nearly at the year’s midpoint, it’s a good time to reflect on just what is going on (or not) with business performance and progress against our expectations. And it’s also the right time to make adjustments in our plans, to get the firm in tip-top shape ASAP.

Want the shortest, straightest path to firm success, to growing the business, and to making and keeping more profit?  Start with a candid (outside) assessment of where the firm is today, determine where best to focus the improvement effort, and follow up with real, meaningful action. Simple.

Here are four top areas for zeroing in on the opportunity:

Strategic Framework – Nothing points the organization towards truly sustainable success more than strengthening the framework –mission (purpose), vision (destination), and business strategy (how to) of the enterprise. I don’t mean a meaningless, waste-of-time wordsmithing exercise, but instead really wrestling with defining, articulating, and committing to the core essence – the raison d’être– of the firm. Super important stuff.

Business Plan– Every firm needs a business roadmap – detailed, documented, and deliverable. But it’s in the nature of these plans – the strategies, goals, and action initiatives – that they require continuous attention. Just as with the GPS on your phone, changes in context often require recalculation. But unlike today’s cellular technology, the business plan doesn’t recalculate itself. Managers must pay attention (indeed manage) the plan and planning process.

Business Growth – Few firms grow sustainably for long without a well thought out marketing plan, and a marketing system to execute it. In most professional services firms the opportunities for improving marketing performance are substantial. An honest, critical, and comprehensive assessment of all of it – plan, processes, and team – will generate many opportunities for improvement, followed by faster and better firm growth.

Business Development – Too many firms have concentrated too much of their sales and marketing acumen in just a handful of rainmakers. Many organizations speak of a seller-doer model, but in reality have many more doers than sellers. This is a bad idea, and it’s a business model that is neither scalable (for growth) or sustainable (for future performance and transition). What companies must do – and do now – is train more of their professionals in the basics of business development, and then continue to foster development of these folks in this critical activity.

Of course, simply buying and reading the magazine’s cover story (“Six Ways to a New You”) won’t by itself do much – especially if you’re eating ice cream while reading. The real key to performance improvement (in self and in the business) comes through action. Execution – doing stuff – is the true differentiator. Sometimes what you need most of all is simply a personal coach, to remind you of the program that’s needed, and (occasionally) to help kick some butts into getting it done.

Taking action for organization health and improvement works. You and your firm can (and should) focus this summer on one or two of the key areas above, make progress, and really move the dial for growth, profit, and sustainable success.

We can help. Call today, and let’s get started.


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